Fujairah, United Arab Emirates

Fujairah

Fujairah holds a unique position in the United Arab Emirate (UAE). It is the only emirate that is located completely on the eastern coast of the UAE along the Gulf of Oman, while other six emirates are along the Arabian Gulf. The shores of Fujairah extend along the Gulf of Oman for about 70km. from the city of Fujairah in the south to the town of Dibba in the far north.

The Emirate derives its name from a spring of water located beneath one of the mountains. The Hajar mountain range that divides the UAE in two, from Ras Al Khaimah to Al Ain has kept Fujairah separated from the rest of the country.

The historical importance of Fujairah dates back to the period before the birth of Christ. It was known in the old ages as the land of sea giants.

History

According to historian Fujairah is dominated by the Sharqiyin tribe, sits at the mouth of the important trade route, the Wadi Ham (which is guarded by the Sharqiyin fort at Bithnah), through the mountains to the interior and the Persian Gulf Coast. Known as the Shamaliyah, the east coast of what is now the UAE was subject to Muscat until 1850, when it was annexed by the Al Qasimi of Sharjah.

The Shamaliyah was governed by the Al Qasimi Wali at Kalba although frequently seceded and in 1901 Hamad bin Abdulla Al Sharqi, chief of the Sharqiyin, declared independence from Sharjah. This was recognised by a number of the Trucial Sheikhs and also by Muscat, but not the British, who were frequently provoked by the independently minded Ruler.

In 1952, Fujairah entered into treaty relations with Britain, becoming the last of the emirates to join the Trucial States. On 2 December 1971, Fujairah joined the United Arab Emirates.

Geography

Total area of Fujairah is 1,488 sq.km. It shares its boundaries with the emirates of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah on the west and the emirate of Sharjah to the south. On the north, it shares its international border with the Sultanate of Oman.

Fujairah is a mere 90 minutes drive time from Sharjah, under two hours from Dubai, and just three and a half hours from Abu Dhabi.

Summer extends from May to September during which the weather is hot and sometimes humid. Winter begins in October and April during which the weather is very pleasant.

Population

Population of Fujairah reached 202,667 according to the Statistical Yearbook of 2014.

According to Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, the estimated population of UAE nationals as of 2010 in the emirate of Fujairah was:

Males: 32,486

Females: 32,374

Total: 64,860

Government

His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, is the Ruler of the emirate Fujairah and a member of the Supreme Council since 1974. His Highness was born on the 22nd of February 1949 in the emirate of Fujairah, where he completed his early education.

His Highness travelled to the United Kingdom to complete his studies in the Military Academy. He returned to the UAE in 1971 to support his father as Deputy Ruler of the emirate of Fujairah. In 1971, after the proclamation of the UAE Federation, he was named as Minister of Agriculture and Fishery.

In 1974 and after his father’s demise, His Highness became the Ruler of the emirate of Fujairah, when he was only 25 years old. During his rule, the emirate of Fujairah has witnessed significant developments in the fields of health, education and construction, and has also become popular as an important tourism destination. He has ably administered the land and has been instrumental in the commissioning of several industries.

Economy

Fujairah's economy is based on fishing and agriculture. Its land is irrigated by rainwater from the Hajjar mountains.

Due to its strategic position, it is the UAE's only access to the Indian Ocean. It operates a multipurpose port that offers access to major shipping routes of the world making it home to the world's largest livestock shipping companies.

Other local industries include mining and stone crushing which have benefited from the recent boom in construction in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The Fujairah Free Zone, surrounding the port of Fujairah, promotes foreign investment in banking and trade. The emirate's GPD reached AED14,093 million in 2014.

In 2015, Fujairah launched 'Fujairah Plan 2040'. The plan includes the development of Fujairah port by adding new terminals for oil, marine services, dry bulk and containers with an anchorage area, along with the expansion of Fujairah airport apron and runway and the relocation of the cargo terminal and airport.

Educational

Education is a top priority for building the future and ensuring sustained prosperity in Fujairah Emirate. The Emirate offers a superior learning environment with an excellent range of schools and leading academic institutions and training facilities. From child education to career development.

There are many government schools in Fujairah, which are mainly for Emirati people, beside some numbers of Arab residents. Aside from government schools, there are also private schools, and due to the majority of the population of the Emirate hailing from the Indian subcontinent, most of the private schools follow the Indian Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus, accredited by the Central Education Board of India.

The existing educational structure, which was established in the early 1970s, is a four tier system covering 14 years of education as per the following:

Kindergarten – 4 to 5 years old (1-2 years program).

Primary – 6 to 12 years old (6 years program).

Preparatory – 12 to 15 years old (3 years program).

Secondary – 15 to 18 years old (3 years program).

  • Higher education

Higher education is offered at universities, higher colleges of technology and other higher education institutes. Below are the list of universities and colleges in Fujairah:

Ajman University of Science and Technology.

Fujairah College.

Higher Colleges of Technology.

Institute Of applied Technology.

Healthcare

Healthcare in Fujairah has witnessed a remarkable development recently, supported by ongoing government efforts to cater to the continued population growth in the emirate.

Healthcare in Fujairah is a mix of public and private systems. Local Emiratis can receive free treatment at any government hospital, but foreigners have to pay. The national government funds the national hospitals, but the public hospitals are still quite expensive, and those who are not nationals and have a low income generally cannot afford to be treated. There have been criticisms that the government is not doing enough to support the low-income workers who live there.

In addition to hospitals, Fujairah also has clinics known as “medical houses.” These clinics complement the main hospital by providing walk-in appointments and ancillary medical services. These medical houses are a success, and often used by Fujairah residents.

In the past years, the standards of surgical and emergency care have improved in Fujairah. With Advanced Trauma Life Support’s programs, which were introduced to improve emergency treatment and survival rates, trauma patients have been receiving better and better emergency treatment.

Private hospitals are also available in Fujairah. For example, the GMC Hospital is a well-known facility in the emirate, and provides emergency, surgical, pharmaceutical, and outpatient treatment. The costs of private healthcare are more expensive than public care.

Tourism

Fujairah is a popular tourist destination in the UAE. It is distinguished with its rugged mountains, valleys, waterfalls, oases and wide sandy beaches. The clean beaches and the numerous water sports such as water surfing, yachting, swimming and deep sea fishing, draw tourists all-round the year. Fujairah has some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the UAE.

Because of its easterly location, Fujairah's climate is more moderate than that of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It has several hot, cold and mineral springs. Weekend visitors looking to escape the heat are drawn to Fujairah's relaxed and peaceful atmosphere.

Wadi Al Wurayah waterfalls and Ain Al Madhab Gardens are major touristic attractions. And so are the historic Al Bidya Mosque and the Heritage Village.

Shopping Malls in Fujairah

City Centre Fujairah

City Centre Fujairah is a shopping mall developed by Majid Al Futtaim Properties in partnership with the government-owned Fujairah Investment Establishment. City Centre Fujairah is largest and the first shopping, leisure and entertainment destinations of its kind in the Emirate. With 34,000 sqm of retail space, the mall features 105 value and mid-market brands, 85% of which are new to Fujairah.

City Centre Fujairah offers choice, convenience and value for money across a wide range of categories including local and international fashion, lifestyle, electronics, homewares and food and beverage. The mall features a 8,684 Carrefour hypermarket, the largest in the Emirate. With a multi-screen VOX Cinemas, a Magic Planet family entertainment centre and an international dining offer, City Centre Fujairah will redefine the shopping and leisure experience for Fujairah and surrounding communities.

Lulu Mall

Lulu Mall is an invigorating development in the heart of Fujairah, striving to provide a relaxed shopping atmosphere. Located within 8 to 10 minutes drive to everywhere within the circumference of the City, moreover easily accessible to Emirates like Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Al Ain. It has everything to serve as a one stop destination for an enjoyable day out, with exceptional shopping, dining and entertainment options all under one roof.

Fujairah Mall

Set against the spectacular backdrop of the Hajar Mountains, the Fujairah Mall’s elegant and innovative architectural design reflects natural beauty of the surrounding landscape, creating an enchanting atmosphere influenced by the history of the region. The Fujairah Mall is an awesome mix of traditional and modern elements proudly appealing to the visitors of all nationalities and creates a welcoming ambience, encouraging visitors to return to the mall again and again.

Spanning to a gross area of 35,000 square metres, the two storeyed Fujairah Mall is currently having 81 diversified shops providing the visitors with an unrivalled Shopping and leisure experience. The Fujairah Mall is an exclusive one stop shopping destination, best known for its high end stores is located next to the main highway into the city and is easily accessible from all residential and business districts in the city. It is also situated in close proximity to key municipal and government offices, as well as Fujairah International Airport.

Century Mall

It's not a big mall but just big enough to spend a couple of hours. It's located in the city centre & has free parking. It has the usual branded shops for clothes, shoes, bags, toys, pastry shops & a cinema. There is Carrefour too, which is where you will find a big chunk of the crowd. We spent just about an hour & did not notice if there was a food court. But good to spend 2-3 hours.

Friday Market

Between the Hajar Mountains on the main road to Fujairah town, stands the Friday Market, full of traditional wares and items steeped in history that link the past with the present. This market is a place of real Arabian charm, where visitors will always find a warm welcome, whether they go to shop or to relax and soak in the atmosphere at weekend breaks.

The Friday Market has much to offer: apart from a charming sight that greets the eye, the simple ways of the local folk as they go about their dealings is very endearing - no technology, no computerised billing. It is as simple as the mountains around.

In spite of the large numbers of modern shopping centres everywhere in the country, this market still has its own attraction. It started becoming a tourist landmark in Fujairah since 10 years ago. It was originally established only for Fridays, ergo the name Friday Market. But now it is open every day.

Major Cities Of Fujairah

The main cities and villages in Fujairah are Dibba, Murbeh, Qidfa, Al Bidiyah, Masafi and Al-Siji. Fujairah is a land endowed with remarkable beauty.

Occupations and Crafts

Pottery is one tradition that has played an important part in culture and heritage of Fujairah. It was practiced in remote and mountain areas due to the easy availability of clay. The clay came in exotic colors of red, green and yellow. These earthenware pots were mainly used for cooking and transportation of water and household needs.

Al Shasha’ is the Arabic term for a conventional fishing boat made from palm fronds. The palm fronds are first carefully pulled off from the tree. They are then pruned and stripped of all unnecessary material like the extra wicker and thorns. They are then left to dry out in the sun for some time. Once they are dried, they are immersed in sea water for an entire day to give it elasticity and strength. They are then stacked side by side ready for building the boat. They are first aligned side by side and strong ropes and woven around then in a special tightening technique. The fronds are compacted to plug any open areas that might leak any water, and the sides and bottom are then given structure. The manufacturing of each boat takes about two days when done manually.

Making the Alqarakir is a traditional practice in the UAE and Arabian Gulf especially in places that are rocky and rich in clay. It is a traditional gadget or tool to help fishermen net the fish; something like a mini fishing net. The best seasons to make it is during March to September when there is plenty of heat from the sun. It is a temporary tool in the sense that it would be used for one or two sessions only since the palm leaves get soaked by the salt water and then are rendered useless by the dampness. The best way to use it would be to lower it in the water by placing a heavy weight in it, like a stone. It would be sunk in the wire with a hook at the other end to pull it out. The smaller version of the Alkarikir is called the Qarkor, and this device has two openings. The first is called "Albabah" through which the fish enter and get snared. The device is conical in shape which makes it easy for the fish to enter but does not allow it to escape easily. The other opening is opposite the first and is always closed. It is opened only to take the trapped fish out. There are generally three types of Qarkor that are popular; ‘Alabyam’ is smaller in size, and Kerkor Al Fardi is medium size whilst the ‘Kerkor Al Doubaya’ is the largest.

Ropes are made from palm fiber also known the world over as coir. The fiber of the palm tree comes out in thin strands. This is first soaked in water and dried. They are then taken in bunches and held between the palms of a hand, twisted and rubbed. The random twisting of the strands intertwines the strands into one long strong rope.

The ‘Burqa’ is a traditional gown worn by women. It is a textile material that can sometimes be thick like canvas. It is normally black in color or a golden brown. It is used by women to cover their bodies and face in public places. It is normally worn by a woman once she grows into an adult and takes her vows. The ‘Burqa’ starts from the top of the forehead and flows straight down to the feet like a straight gown. The head is also covered and so are the eyes by a contraption made of palm leaves or a think fabric. The covering on the head runs from the top of the forehead to the last of the beginning of the burqa so the head is completely covered with aslit or opening for the eyes. Modern society has different styles and versions of it. The Khad Al Burqa is the piece that covers the face and could be large or small, as per the request of the woman wearing it. Then we have the Chbooj which is threaded on both ends of the burqa from the right and left sides and often made of the hair of goats or sheep's wool. The yarn may be made of plastic and decorated with embroidery or ‘Zari.

Splinting is a doctor who fixes up broken bones. He normally follows an ancient practice of fixing broken bones by putting a drug or medication on the joint or broken area and is an expert at his work. The plaster that he uses is a mix of eggs together with Anzrut, and placed on the broken part. The concoction quickly freezes and takes the shape of the broken area and forma a firm plaster around it. It is kept on the injury for different durations depending on the severity of the facture.

Al Mutawa is a teacher who educates on Quranic practices and teachings. This type of education has been prevalent for a long period of time and is practiced by a large number of the religious people and teachers who are wise and knowledgeable. They have adapted it to teach the Koran, the Hadith, and training in writing, calligraphy and arithmetic. The places of study or classrooms were rooms made of palm fronds and would include boys and girls. The teacher (Al-Mutawa) would do it as a social service and his fees would largely be voluntary. The donations made could range from money to gifts in kind or simple and traditional food. This fee was called Alkhamisyah.

Kharraz is the term used for the cobbler or shoemaker. He normally works with leather as his main fabric. The leather is made from the skin of cows or sheep and is obtained from tanneries. The leather is also used for the making of insoles for the shoes or bags or as a covering for drums.

Customs and Traditions

Fujairah, like the rest of the United Arab Emirates, has many customs and traditions. The Kandura, or a dishdash, is a long white cloak worn by UAE national males. This is often accompanied by a headscarf called a Guthra and is held in place by an Egal. their head. Women wear the black cloak or abaya that covers the body from head to toe.

Food

Food from this region is truly magnificent. It is somewhat similar to Lebanese or other Arab cuisines. Main meals comprise mostly of lamb, fish and rice . One of the most popular dishes is Biryani, which is meat or fish cooked with an Indian-style spiced rice. Lobsters and local fish such as Hammour . Some of the most popular authentic Emirati dishes are as follows:

  • Raqaq (flat) Bread
  • Yeast Bread
  • Al Harees
  • Al Majboos
  • Al Salona
  • Al Madrooba
  • Fish

Transportation

Airport

At Fujairah International Airport, passenger service is priority. The airport has made elaborate arrangements to ensure that passengers find the start and the culmination of their journey utmost convenient and pleasant.

Inside the modern terminal, there are several check-in counters at the departure side, each equipped with modern digital scales and a conveyor belt. Courteous and experienced staff present a level of efficiency normally associated with long established airports. Passport control section has several counters to ensure speedy clearance of passengers. Maximum check-in time is five minutes.

Another innovation is the special security corridor through which transit passenger can be screened without any fuss. Since security is top priority at the airport, the most modern security systems have been installed capable of even detecting plastic explosives. Apart from the VIP and First Class lounges, there is a spacious departure hall, a restaurant and a Duty Free Shopping Complex, offering round-the-clock wide mix of merchandise, at prices competitive with other duty-free shops in the UAE.

Taxis: Taxis are easily available at affordable rates to travel around the city.

Buses: Buses are easily available from the Fujairah bus station and connects all the places by RTA. The inter-emirates buses run to Dubai. Fujairah Transport Corporation (FTC) provides one internal public bus to Dibba that stops in Murbah, Khorfakkan and Diba Al Hisn – it departs every hour from a bus stop near the LuLu Centre.

Car: Fujairah is roughly 2 hours by car from Dubai and the trip is on sealed roads throughout. It is also quite easy to reach Fujairah from nearby Oman, as the border is very close.

Language

The official language of the UAE is Arabic, but English is widely spoken and understood, with both languages being commonly used in business and commerce.

Currency

The official currency in Fujairah is named Dirham (or United Arab Emirates Dirham; AED). The Dirham (AED) is abbreviated as DH or Dhs. It is not the currency of Fujairah only, but also other emirates including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm-Al-Quwain.

The most common notes in circulation are the 100 Dh, 50 Dh, 20 Dh, 10 Dh and 5 Dh note although there are three other less commonly used notes – 200 Dh, 500 Dh and 1000 Dh notes. 1 Dh = 100 fils and coins are available in 25 fils, 50 fils and 1 Dh denominations.

Dollars is widely accepted in Fujairah and the major credit cards such as American Express, Diner’s Club, Visa and MasterCard are acceptable throughout Fujairah. ATMs can be found across the UAE in malls, hotels and gas stations. ATMs accept foreign credit and debit cards including Switch, Maestro, Cirrus, Union Pay, Visa and MasterCard.